If you’ve lived in Florida for even just a year, then you know the heavy workout your air conditioner gets, especially in the peak of summer. Fortunately, these systems are very durable and designed to handle the heat—when they’re cared for as they should be.
When your air conditioner isn’t properly cared for, you will likely find yourself paying a lot more for cooling than you should have to. You might also find yourself calling for repairs a lot more than you should have to! There’s good news though—there are methods out there to not only boost efficiency and therefore lower your energy costs, but also prevent repairs. Read on!
Stay On Top of Your Tune-Ups
If you haven’t schedule professional AC maintenance yet for this summer, now is the time. Unless your air conditioner completely breaks down, it’s never too late to schedule this service. The fact that you have it done consistently matters more than how often you have it done—and by consistently we mean once a year.
This is the general advice for a central air conditioner. If you have a year-round heat pump or ductless system though, then the unit needs maintenance once every 6 months.
Raise the Temperature!
We get it, this sounds like counterintuitive advice, right? Well, bear with us…
We are not advising that you turn up the heat—that wouldn’t make any sense. But you may be keeping your thermostat lower than really needed. A lower thermostat setting doesn’t provide your home with cooling any faster. It just keeps your compressor running longer, which wears down on the system faster. We recommend setting the temperature on your thermostat at 78° during the day, since this is the temperature most people are comfortable at.
This means your compressor won’t have to run as long to reach the desired temperature, and therefore you’ll be using up less energy.
Keep the Unit Clear from Obstructions
The outdoor unit of your air conditioner is where the system exhausts the heat that it removes from your living space. It can’t effectively do this if the cabinet grill is dirty, or if trees and brush are obstructing it. You want to clear out the area by about a foot on all sides to allow for proper airflow. We suggest cleaning off any dirt or grime with a low-pressured hose, too. A high-pressured hose may damage the equipment.
When clearing obstructions, consider the inside, too! Your indoor vents and registers can get dusty, or get blocked with things like furniture, backpacks, toys, etc. This impacts the airflow coming into your home, leading to less comfort and an AC system that has to work too hard to do its job.
Change the Air Filter
The air filter that comes standard in your HVAC system upon installation is there to protect the unit and the blower fan from dust, dirt, and other debris that gets drawn in through the return air ducts. This filter becomes congested after 1-3 months (depending on the type of filters and levels of contaminants in the home) and should be changed as often to maintain AC efficiency.